ISO 9001:2015 – 5.2.2 - Communicating the quality policy




Welcome back to this page. I hope, as always, that the information presented here is of interest to you.


Despite the great diffusion that has been made worldwide of management system based on standards, it is common for people involved with this type of system, such as those responsible for part of the organizations, members of top management, as well as internal auditors, and for other organizations, as external auditors and evaluators of certification or accreditation bodies, even though they have participated in training programs, do not know and comprehend all requirements of these standards. That is why we have given ourselves the task of individually identifying each of the requirements that derive from the different clauses, subclauses and sections of these standards.


In the previous entries we dealt with requirements corresponding to Section 5.2.1-Establishing the Quality Policy, and we did it in three parts, due to the importance and complexity of the requirements derived from said section. In this entry, as Part 4 of Sub-clause 5.2 – Policy, we will deal with requirements that derive from Section 5.2.2 – Communicating of the Quality Policy.


As I have explained to you in a previous entry, the quality policy is the most important element of a quality management system, because all the processes and activities carried out by the organization within that quality management system will be to meet the aforementioned quality policy. That is why in this group of requirements derived from Section 5.2.2 of the standard, all of them refer to this quality policy, specifying how, and to whom, this element of the quality management system should be communicated.


In this Section 5.2.2, the ISO 9001:2015 standard establishes the following requirements, and I present them to you with the corresponding progressive numbering, as I have been presenting, individually, all requirements of this standard that have been analyzed:




If we consider this list, our next requirement to analyze is the following:



Requirement No. 110: The quality policy shall be available as documented information.


What this requirement indicates is that when top management establishes the quality policy, it should do so as documented information, that is, in addition to containing all the elements required by Section 5.2.1 - Establishing the quality policy, it should have all the identification elements that the organization itself has established in accordance with Subclause 7.5 Documented information, mainly with Section 7.5.2 - Creation and updating, such as those related to identification and description, format and support medium, as well as the review and approval with respect to suitability and adequacy, as well as, as it is a controlled document, it must comply with the provisions of Section 7.5.3 – Control of documented information.



Requirement No. 111: The quality policy shall be maintained as documented information.


In accordance with this requirement, top management should ensure that when it takes all the actions necessary to maintain the quality policy and determines that it continues to be appropriate for the purpose and context of the organization and supports its strategic direction, it complies with all the required elements, regardless of adjustments or modifications. that may have suffered, this maintained quality policy should also be maintained as documented information, also complying with sections 7.5.2 and 7.5.3.


Interestingly, the Technical Specification TS 9002:2016 - Quality management systems — Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001:2015, in relation to this Section 5.2.2 Communicating  the quality policy, mentions that in order to maintain the quality policy, the organization should review it periodically to determine if it is still appropriate to the purpose of the organization. This recommendation is misplaced, since if you remember, in the first paragraph of Section 5.2.1 – Establishing the quality policy, there is a requirement for top management shall maintain the quality policy


As I have previously mentioned, we should be very careful when reading and analyzing these requirements to avoid confusion, mistakes or misinterpretation, which will inevitably lead us to non-compliance with the standard. What this particular requirement refers to is not that the quality policy is maintained, which was already established in the requirement mentioned in the previous paragraph, but that when the organization maintain such quality policy, it should also maintain it as documented information.



Requirement No. 112: The quality policy shall be communicated within the organization.


The intent of this requirement, according to TS 9002:2016, is to ensure that the quality policy is communicated to all persons in the organization, so they are able to contribute to the effectiveness of the quality management system. This quality policy can be communicated by different methods such as via noticeboards, screensavers, the organization's website, or during routine meetings. Sufficient evidence must be generated so that the organization is able to demonstrate that the quality policy has been communicated throughout the organization.


It is important that for communication of the quality policy, what the organization has established in accordance with Sub-clause 7.4 - Communication of the ISO 9001:2015 Standard is complied with.



Requirement No. 113: The quality policy shall be understood within the organization.


The intention of this requirement is to ensure that all people in the organization understand the quality policy, so that they are able to contribute to the effectiveness of the quality management system.


The organization needs to ensure that the quality policy is clearly understood throughout the organization. This can be achieved by taking into account the requirements of Sub-clauses 7.3 - Awareness and 7.4 - Communication of ISO 9001:2015, of all people of all different levels of the organization.


The organization can use different mechanisms to achieve the understanding of the quality policy by people, such as informative meetings, workshops, seminars, evaluations, among others, generating sufficient evidence that this policy has been understood by all organization staff.



Requirement No. 114: The quality policy shall be applied within the organization.


Top management should ensure that all elements of the quality policy, both the intentions and direction, are being applied regularly by the entire organization.


It is important to remember that to fulfill the purpose of the organization, all processes and activities that are carried out in the operation of the quality management system should be oriented to comply with the quality policy, to achieve the quality objectives.


For this, top management should ensure that the specified activities and controls are carried out and that the appropriate follow-up is given to all processes, to generate sufficient evidence that the quality policy is being applied.



Requirement No. 115: The quality policy shall be available to relevant interested parties, as appropriate.


The intent of this requirement is for the organization to ensure that the quality policy is available to relevant interested parties.


The organization should make the quality policy, as appropriate, available to relevant interested parties, such as external providers, partners, customers, and regulatory agencies.


This can be done on demand, or by publishing the quality policy on a web page.


In the next entry we will continue with the analysis of requirements derived from Section 5.3 – Organization roles, responsibilities and authorities, of this ISO 9001:2015 Standard.


I will be grateful to the readers who upload their doubts or comments in this blog.





Ernesto Palomares Hilton